Day care providers should grab every available opportunity to involve parents and welcome their input. The rewards of this parental participation is mutually beneficial and makes for a positive experience for the children and all concerned. You can share insights that you have gleaned from observing the child at day care and in return parents can provide a wealth of valuable information giving you a holistic picture of the child.
This mutual cooperation allows both parties the opportunity to share effective methods and ideas regarding working with individual children. The day care experience for all concerned is enriched by this listening, respecting and valuing of each other’s knowledge. The parents can learn so much about the socialization and interaction of their child from the care-giver whilst passing on their family values and beliefs to the day care. Opportunities for communication should be provided both formally and informally and information sharing should be ongoing.
Staff assessment in the area of working and communicating with parents may be required in order to maximise the effectiveness of this sharing process. In order to maximise the effectiveness of this sharing process assess your staff and their abilities in the area of working and communicating with parents. Support your staff so that they feel encouraged to participate in this process. Consider your current timetable and staffing levels – do these currently allow for time to be spent with parents and any subsequent follow ups? If parents have particular interests or areas of expertise e.g.storytelling or music encourage them to share it with the children as a kind of guest speaker.
You should have a complaints procedure in place that allows parents to air their grievances easily and without feeling judged. You should view complaints as constructive criticism and a means to improving your service and should be perceived as open, friendly and professional when it comes to comments. Thank parents for bringing issues to your attention and deal with the problem immediately. Management should deal with more serious issues but your complaints procedure should also allow for staff to be empowered to deal with certain problems. Perhaps have a suggestion box where parents are welcome to offer suggestions/criticism anonymously.
Have parents involved from the outset by including them in an orientation visit and the settling in procedure. Form a parent’s committee so they have a collective voice thus encouraging positive interaction. Integrate a key worker system into your day care so parents have a daily point of contact regarding their child. Provide information about weekly scheduling and activities either by posting details on the notice-board or sending out a newsletter. Share daily information both verbally and writing so that there is no misunderstanding or confusion as to meaning. Have a website with a blog where you can post comments about goings on at the day care and parents can, in turn, post comments. Include a staff page with information and photos.
Heretofore untapped resources can be accessed via parental involvement in your day care. Parents will be encouraged to give back if they feel valued and supported. Many conflicts and misunderstandings are borne out of lack of information so opening up channels of communication can avoid these. A friendly, welcoming and open day care should be your ultimate goal. Happy parents mean happy kids mean happy you!
Recommended Books on Running a Day Care Business:
- How to Start a Home-Based Day-Care Business, 6th (Home-Based Business Series)
- Start & Run a Home Daycare (Self-Counsel Press Business Series)
- How To Start A Daycare – 7 Steps To Running A Successful & Profitable Day Care Business (Start A Daycare Business)
- Family Child Care Business Planning Guide (Redleaf Business Series)
- How to Start a Home-Based Day-Care Business!: Learn surprising inside secrets of running a Successful home-based Day-Care Business!